I R overweight dude with main focus on running... with many many failed attempts in the past to stick to the gym due to DOMS and ** getting too tough to progress...

I understand weight training helps build

1) muscular strength (from lifting heavy)

2) muscular endurance

I am currently doing couch to 5K -> its high intensity running enough for me...

I am looking to alternate do weight lifting and running on alternate days

I have been looking at starting strength program ... but the gym instructors seem to seem aloof from it and have their own circuit involving machines dumbbells etc..

Do i stick to the rule of high weight and low reps for the gym circuit or is it better to follow the starting strength program and exclude the machines etc..

How can i effectively manage starting strength and running alternatively . I was looking at starting strength forums and from what i have been reading is that the rest days are for recovery from the weight lifting days...

I am trying to lift weights on rest days of high intensity running ....

So ... how do i make the progression on weights or how can i tackle the starting strength to fit my needs.

My goal is to be able to run 5K ( doing the couch to 5K ) HIIT stuff like insanity or crossfit is not possible at my fitness level and weight. the secondary goals is to retain muscle mass if i have any ... while on a calorific deficit by lifting weights


3 Answers 3


Starting off, I am in no way an expert and I will merely give my opinion as I have completed similar activities.

Starting off, you have to realize that there is either burning fat or gaining muscle, and it's very hard to do both at the same time without the use of something synthetic. The main reasoning for this is because if you want to gain muscular size and strength you really have to put yourself in a calorific surplus and if you want to lose fat you have to put yourself in a calorific deficit.

Additionally the goal of starting strength is going to be to gain strength and muscle. Whereas the goal from couch to 5k is going to be to burn fat and gain fitness, making them counter productive.

Also, you're going to have to listen to your body. If one day your taking your legs to fail doing squats and then the next day you're using them for fitness/running training, this can also be counter productive since your legs wont have recovered in time and they will now be over trained, especially if you're aiming to be in a caloric deficit.

Now that you have a bit more insight into the problems involved, there's a few different paths you can take. Firstly, you can continue doing the starting strength program and couch to 5k program if you feel that you are making solid gains in both areas, remember this is always about what your body is telling you.

Alternatively, I think you should ask yourself, what do you want the most? Depending on what you want more, you should focus your training more towards that style of training and limit yourself to the other style of training.

If you do still want both styles equally, a good style of program which balances the strength/fitness combination is something like a 100m-200m sprinters program. You can obviously edit the program to your liking, for example they will train a lot of things which assist in their running time such as high knees which you wouldn't need to train.

Also they will only typically aim at sprinting 100m for training, which you may want to extend - but the sprinters frame is quite muscular still, because they do a lot of things like deadlifts to help their explosive power. It is this combination of fitness/strength that you will be aiming for so that your training isn't being counter productive - so that it allows muscles to recover properly and is shaped around one goal instead two opposite goals.

Again, I am in no way an expert in the matter and I in no way know your body better you do - remember everything said is also a guideline, not a solid fact and the guidelines may be broken. Lastly, you'll probably find this out the hard way but running in general is a mental battle - never give up before you have to otherwise you're only cheating yourself. The best way to train past that mental barrier is by finding a training partner (a positive training partner!) that will push you past where your mind allows. Using this method will get you to your goal a lot faster than what you typically would find.

  • are you sure you know what counter-intuitive means?
    – K.L.
    Sep 2, 2013 at 13:24

In my opinion its OK to keep both... The hardest part though, is to stick to your schedule.

To have some remarkable effects, you'd need to stick to your plan for the next 3-6 months... From my experience, I know that it might be hard, to fill every day of week with exercises.

Rest days are okay too, they helps regenerate mentally and physically, so you'd feel fresher on next run / workout.

And good luck on your path. Just pick what's more important to you and try to prioritize. Eg. if you choose running, try never to skip running workout - it would be ok though, if you skip gym once a while if you're tired - It will help your recovery... So all depends on your priorities.

  • "if you skip gym, becaue"....? Your answer is incomplete.
    – Freakyuser
    Sep 3, 2013 at 5:05
  • Added missing bit. sorry
    – Jan Kraus
    Sep 12, 2013 at 20:31

Well you haven't mentioned your age , because then I would have answered accordingly. You mentioned that you are a over weight guy,then keeping that in mind I would suggest that you limit your running , because in the long run your leg and shin joints will start hurting as they will be under lot of pressure. Just standing puts lots of tension on them, then if you start running, the pressure/tension increases . Said that , if you will run for long intervals , every thing is going to be OK for now , but later when you will be somewhere in your 40-50 , you will start to feel the effect of it. Then second reason for limiting your running is , if you run too much , your body will start consuming your muscle as fuel, as they are larger source of energy for the body. Believe me that can happen , and I have seen that happen. You need to limit your running session to one to two session per week. Performing strength training three to four sessions per week . Also the running/cardio session needs to be limited to 30 -45 minutes at max, and in those session , perform various cardiovascular exercises, as then you will provide variation to the body.Vary your time for the cardiovascular exercises that you do. And Burning fat and gaining muscle at the same time is very much possible . I have done that, I am doing that, and that too without any supplements or steroids.

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